As young people mature, the decisions they make have an enormous impact on their families, their communities and our world. But growing up surrounded by poverty, war or in the aftermath of disaster increases their risks and limits their choices.
That's why giving children and youth the right support at this most critical time is essential to building tomorrow’s strong, productive communities.
When disaster strikes, young children are especially vulnerable to developing emotional and social problems that can jeopardize their futures. Mercy Corps worked with experts to design our signature Comfort for Kids program that helps children process their trauma and recover through play, sports and art activities. See our expert's recommendations for how parents and caregivers can help children through times of crisis ▸
For adolescents faced with violence, early marriage and interruptions to schooling, we provide opportunities for community involvement, vocational training and life skills development. Our goal is to empower youth in the toughest places to make smart life choices and invest their energy in developing solutions to their countries’ biggest challenges.
Iraq: One youth leader turns play into progress
Growing up in Baghdad isn’t easy — violence and fear are part of the daily reality. But Zahra, 18, is bringing positive change to other young women in her community through movement and mentorship.
Syria, Turkey: What leaders can learn from Syria’s youth
They spoke of bullying, early marriage, as well as hope and their determination to build a better future. When Syrian youth spoke up at the World Humanitarian Summit in May, those leading the refugee crisis response were sure to listen.
Nigeria: How this woman escaped when Boko Haram came to town
In a moment, everyday Nigerians like Jummah are forced to flee home and try to reassemble a life with no job, little support and many mouths to feed.
Nigeria: New report investigates how Boko Haram recruits youth
Boko Haram is fueling crisis in Nigeria, and experts agree: The majority of its fighters are youth. To learn how to prevent further recruitment, we researched what motivates certain young people to join while others resist. Read our findings.
Kenya: How investing in women can help a community
Lucy was born with drive and ambition, but had no clear path to success. Then, she got involved in a Mercy Corps youth program in Kenya. Today, she's chasing her dreams and helping others chase theirs, too.
Syria, Turkey: Sami's story: ‘I just need a chance’
Sami dreams of being a doctor. Back in Syria, his dad pushed him to study every day. It’s a life he thinks about often. It’s the Syria Sami loves—the one he wants to rebuild—but one he hasn’t seen since he fled with his family. He wants to leave a legacy.
Syria: Unlocking a future for Syria's youth
After five years of war, Syria’s youth are a generation trapped, growing restless and frustrated by unending conflict. Despite the circumstances, we have an incredible opportunity to unlock their potential.
Steps toward a bright future
Against a backdrop of unemployment and scarce opportunity, we see youth as changemakers who are rising to meet the tough challenges they face with energy, optimism and success.
Somalia: How restoring a school is reviving hope in Somalia
As we celebrate 10 years in Somalia, we also acknowledge another accomplishment: Opening Mogadishu's first public secondary school in 25 years. Find out how education is giving the city's young people hope for a better future.
Tunisia: How we’re empowering young entrepreneurs in the wake of revolution
Revolution five years ago began the Arab Spring and brought democracy to Tunisia, but it also resulted in economic struggles. We're working with young entrepreneurs to revitalize the economy and build stability for the future.